In Praise of Council Housing : Kill the Housing Bill

Further to our last post, Youth March For Housing, March 6 -Brixton, here’s notice of a demonstration against the Housing Bill this coming Sunday plus a thoughtful and informative blog, Happy Birthday Council Housing by Glyn Robbins.

Housing Bill

Glyn Robbins opens his blog by pointing that on March 3 it was 116 years since the opening by the Prince of Wales of the Boundary Estate in Bethnal Green.

There had been isolated examples of municipal house building before, but this was the first large-scale council estate – 1,000 homes with schools, shops, public baths, laundries and other facilities that underlined the intention of both clearing slums and creating a lasting social, as well as a domestic, environment.  As with every other urban regeneration project before and since, there were negative aspects – higher rents, social (and some ethnic) profiling, paternalism and displacement.  But a walk around the Boundary today, still council housing despite several attempts at privatisation, is testament to an enduring vision that we need to rekindle and re-cast.

He makes a persuasive case for rekindling and recasting the tradition, ending with a passionate call to oppose the Housing Bill itself.

Awareness is growing about the generational threat the Bill represents, not just to council housing, but to all aspects of housing policy and yet still there seems to be reticence in some quarters to getting fully involved in the campaign against it.  Imagine if (instead of doing it by stealth) the government had introduced legislation to abolish the NHS within a decade.  That’s the equivalent of what we’re facing, but as Aneurin Bevan said of the NHS, so we should think of council housing – it will exist for as long as people are prepared to fight for it.


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